Local photographers, locations featured in GRCA photo contest

More photos than ever before – 624 – were submitted to the Grand River Conservation Authority’s (GRCA) 2016 photo contest which closed at the end of October.

The winners are people who combine their enjoyment of the outdoors with photography. The judges faced some challenges because it was difficult to make the selection.

The photos that were submitted show the diversity of beautiful landscapes and recreational activities in the watershed and will be used on the GRCA’s website and in the publications.

Grand Prize

The grand prize goes to Anca Gaston of Brantford for her photo of a Bald eagle at Wilkes Dam in Brantford.

Gaston is an amateur photographer, who enjoys capturing the natural beauty of the Grand River area.

 The grand prize photograph was shot when Gaston, camouflaged behind tree branches, spotted a bald eagle fishing in the Grand River near Brant Park.

The photo features the bald eagle in an upward flight position, displaying its powerful talons and spread tail feathers. Wilkes Dam and the Grand River are visible in the background.

 In addition to a $500 gift certificate, Gaston won a pair of tickets to the National Geographic LIVE Series at Centre In The Square.

The first place prize in each category was $250 and second place was $100, also from a local camera retailer.

Among the category winners were a number of local locations.

First place recreation

Jean Lefebvre of Waterloo won first place in the recreation category for his photo Canoe poling at the Elora Gorge.

Lefebvre is an avid paddler and a member of the Waterloo Wellington Canoe and Kayak Club.

“I like to get out and commune with nature, but my favourite activity is canoeing,” he said. “Canoeing and photography are a great combination of interests, as one provides material for the other.”

His winning photo shows his friend, Stephen Coutts, poling a canoe down the Elora Chute. Poling is a traditional, but now uncommon, technique involving standing in a canoe and using a long pole against the riverbed to travel up or down river.

“Stephen is the only canoe poler I know, though I’ve heard rumors of another existing somewhere in Ontario,” Lefebvre said. “He is particularly skilled at guiding his canoe in this unusual way. It makes for a good photography subject.”

First place nature

Shari Lovell of Rockwood won first place in the nature category for her photo Scenic Eramosa River.

Lovell never leaves home without her camera.  

“My preferred focus is candid street photography and special events,” she said. “But when you live in such a beautiful part of Ontario, it is hard not to take advantage of the photo opportunities that abound here.”

 The Eramosa River, which flows through Rockwood Park, is the subject of Lovell’s prize-winning photograph.

“I am fortunate enough to live in Rockwood, so if I see a dramatic sky developing, I know there will be a great photo op, and I can zip over to the park to try to capture it,” she said. “That particular vantage point is one of my favourites.”

First place panorama

Ken Borghese of Guelph won first place in the panorama category for his photo  Elora Quarry Panorama.

Borghese has had an interest in photography for many years, and since retiring has joined both the Guelph Photographers Guild and the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association’s Into Focus Photography Club.

“There is no subject on which I focus my hobby,” Borghese said. “I enjoy capturing photographs of everything and learning more every time I trip the shutter.”

His winning panorama of the Elora Quarry was captured on a busy summer afternoon.

“My wife and I had heard of the consistent popularity of Elora Quarry Park and decided to see for ourselves,” he said. “We were not disappointed.”

Borghese shot from a vantage point where much of the quarry was visible, and created the panorama by stitching 12 photographs together.

Second place panorama

Marc Cadranel of Oakville took second place in the panorama category for his photo  Rockwood Park Panorama.

Cadranel, born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, spent nearly 20 years in South Africa before immigrating to Canada in 1999 with his family.

He started taking photographs in his teens – mainly slides back then – and has always loved nature photography.

During the summer months, Cadranel and his family are avid weekend day-trippers. They can be found exploring  southern Ontario and reconnecting with nature as much as possible.

“The area around us is so beautiful, varied and widespread that I suspect it will take us a while yet to cover it all,” he said.

The winning panorama was captured on a summer day in Rockwood Park.

When asked about the photo Cadranel said, “I particularly like it because, if one looks carefully, there are a few canoes that emphasize the imposing beauty of the park.”

The winners and a selection of contest entries may be viewed on Flickr at flickr.com/photos/grandriverconservation/albums.